According to Harrisonburg’s Daily News-Record, the James Madison Dukes will be hosting the Virginia Cavaliers in Harrisonburg on November 19 as their marquee non-conference home matchup. This, of course, assumes that college sports as we know it will return this fall.
The Dukes are set to open a brand new basketball arena, the Atlantic Union Bank Center, which will seat 8,500 fans, up from their current 1982-built JMU Convocation Center that seats 6,426.
Virginia boasts a perfect 11-0 record against the Dukes, with the latest win coming just this past season, a whopping 65-34 win over a JMU team that ultimately finished just 9-21 for the year. Virginia finished 23-7 overall heading into the ACC Tournament before the season was cut short. The Hoos had rattled off eight straight wins heading into the postseason, including wins over No. 7 Duke and No. 10 Louisville.
In addition to their new arena, JMU is also looking to debut a new basketball head coach in Mark Byington. Byington played his career at UNC Wilmington from 1994-1998 and came to JMU after serving seven seasons at the helm of Georgia Southern, where he compiled a .575 winning record that included a postseason appearance in the CBI.
Byington also has ties to Virginia, serving as an assistant coach under Pete Gillen during the 2004-2005 season before returning to his alma mater. He also did a one-year stint as an assistant at Virginia Tech from 2012-2013.
November 19 would be a late start to open the new Atlantic Union Bank Center for the Dukes as the basketball season usually starts in the first week of November, but either way, this is a great opportunity for the Dukes to get eyes on their program, and the Hoos will need to make sure they’re not asleep for what should be a fired up, hostile atmosphere, depending on what the new world of sports looks like on the other side of quarantine.